Ray Ratto

Analysis: Without Clowe, Sharks lines in turmoil

Analysis: Without Clowe, Sharks lines in turmoil

May 10, 2011
SHARKS PAGE SHARKS VIDEO Coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California.
Ray Ratto
CSNCalifornia.comDETROIT -- Ryane Clowes absence from Game 6 throws at least three, and maybe even all four Sharks lines into at least mild turmoil. Whether or not that is necessarily a bad thing remains to be seen.

Clowe did not make the trip to Detroit because of what are being described as flu-like symptoms, and was not slapped on a Kevin Compton private jet at the last minute either. In short, hes out, and may be out if there is a Game 7. Coach Todd McLellan only called it an upper-body injury, and said it was not caused by the Niklas Kronwall hit 1:32 into the third period. He said he knew late in Game 5 that Clowe wasnt right and might not make the trip.

The Clowe loss punches a hole in the Logan Couture line and creates an opening that might very well be filled by Benn Ferriero. That would be the move that least disrupts the rest of the forward combinations, but McLellan may look for a more comprehensive approach that would affect all four lines in search of creating greater adjustments by the Wings -- especially involving Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. As it is, the Wings are sitting one-legged winger Johan Franzen (ankle) and playing Mike Modano in his stead tonight, and Babcock hinted other potential changes.

The Sharks are maintaining that they played well for 55 minutes in Game 5 and only made mistakes at 2-0 and 3-1 that caused Detroit to close those gaps and ultimately win the game. That may be a generous interpretation, but the players and McLellan agreed that they did not take their feet off the pedal after the two-goal leads.
We just made mistakes there, McLellan said. The one (by Kronwall 53 seconds after Joe Pavelskis goal made it 2-0) came off a defensive mistake, and the other one, we kill a penalty right after the (Couture) goal, and then just make an error in our own end.

Clowes absence puts more pressure on the other players, because hes a good player, McLellan said, but it also reinforces the fact that the players who are on the ice are more important than the ones who arent.

Note: San Joses 10 playoff games with Detroit the past two seasons have ended either 2-1 or 4-3, with the lone exception being Detroits 7-1 win in Game 4 last year. In the 18 games played between the two teams since the start of last season, San Jose is 11-7, but Detroit has outscored the Sharks, 52-51.

Celtics are the rivals Warriors fans need

Celtics are the rivals Warriors fans need

You don’t think you needed this game to go this way, but you did, and you do.

The Golden State Warriors spat out a 17-point lead and lost, 92-88, in Boston Thursday night, in a game that was taut if not particularly elegant, and in a game that elevated the Celtics to a place that makes them the new heir apparent to the heir apparent.

The Celtics have been a difficult out for the Warriors during the Brad Stevens Era, losing six of nine but only being blown out twice, and Thursday was not one of those nights. The box score will tell you the shooting and rebounding problems, but the Warriors had that lead and didn’t hold it. Or, to be accurate, the Celtics had that deficit and refused to let it destroy them.

Which is exactly the kind of team you, the fully licensed Warrior fan, want to watch play your team in the NBA Finals. You want to see them genuinely challenged, forced to win outside their comfort zone, induced to show their greatness in the highest of high leverage situations.

At least we think that’s what you want. Maybe you prefer blowouts so you can drink and go to the bathroom without care or fear. After all, the Warriors have taught the area the true meaning of front-running by being in front so often.

But the Celtics play a level of defense typically reserved for the San Antonio Spurs, and yes, the Warriors. They have a spiky exoskeleton that the acquisition of Kyrie Irving has actually enhanced, and Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum give them a gifted precocity that fits well with veterans like Al Horford and Marcus Morris, and Boston’s overall youth (they are fifth youngest, while Golden State is third-oldest) ought to make them a more difficult conundrum than Cleveland or any other team in either conference.

They are not yet the superior team; that remains to be proven, and betting against the Warriors requires a level of irrational bravery left only for the truly self-destructive.

But they are, as we sit this evening, the team the Warriors will have to work hardest to finish, because on a night when they had the chance to do so, they didn’t. In other words, the fight for a third ring still goes through Oakland, but it looks more and more like a one-stop through Boston.

And as much as you may hate thinking about it, you’ll almost certainly remember, and savor, a Celtics-Warriors final more than another round of Cavs-on-the-half-shell.

Three reasons Draymond Green is the perfect college professor


Three reasons Draymond Green is the perfect college professor

Programming note: Warriors-Celtics coverage starts today at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming live right here 

Draymond Green spoke to a group of students at Harvard Thursday on the subject of leadership, and if you find that incongruous, shame on you.
I mean, who else would you want as a college professor?
Green has led, and been led. He has learned, and he has taught. He has certainly lectured, as any teammate, official and media member will testify. He’d be a hell of a teacher, and the subject almost doesn’t matter.
For one, homework would be different, as in I’d bet there would be no written work. I don’t see Prof. Day-Day poring over essays about the Industrial Revolution, M-theory or pre-Raphaelite art. Not even the history of Basketball-Reference.com.

For two, having tenured faculty audit his classes may find his choice of rhetoric a little strident, as in “What the ---- were you thinking, dude?” is not typically approved instructional methodology.
And three, nobody would get a grade. Green would mark every exam with a “35,” as in his draft position, and besides, the exams would be students arguing with each other over whether that was a foul or a no-call, and who pulled the better face when the call was made. He’d give either an approving nod or give the loser a second technical foul and kick him or her out of class.
But it would be a hell of a class. Not at Harvard, of course, because Green probably would want to teach a school that could better use his brand of wisdom, and Harvard kids already have a healthy lead off third base. He’d want his students to make Harvard students cry, you can just tell.
But wouldn’t he look perfectly Draymond in a cap and gown on graduation day, pulling a bottle out of his sleeve to make the valedictory speeches less painful. “Damn, dude,” you could hear him yell. “Peaking?”